Serena Williams and Lucie Safarova both played their career-best tennis this week and ended up with well-deserved spots in the Family Circle Cup singles final. Safarova is ranked 25th in the world and has been on a steady rise of late. But Serena is on fire and considered unbeatable by other players when she’s on her game. Their match was finished in just under an hour, with Serena taking it easily 6-0 6-1, but it featured better play from Safarova against Serena’s wicked game than Sam Stosur, surprisingly.

Both players received crowd support as their match played out and fans were treated to the best tennis many had ever seen as Serena again busted out aces at speeds over 120 mph, once even on her second serve, a real shocker. Seconds after match point, she was dancing on court exuberantly to “Hey Ya” and Madonna’s “Lucky Star” and adjusting her fashion-forward weave before the short championship ceremony.

Safarova’s victory came in her doubles final with partner Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (a name almost no tennis official could pronounce) against the fiery Anabel Medina Garrigues/Yaroslava Shvedova team. Though most of the fans in the stadium had cleared out after the singles final, those that stayed for doubles had a real treat: a match with more excitement and jaw-dropping rallies than anyone expected. This was a well-matched final and a joy to witness. Safarova/Pavlyuchenkova had to play a tiebreaker after split sets to win 5-7 6-4 10-6.

At the press conference after the match, Serena vowed to come back next year, claiming that she loves Charleston and her fans here, but that her real motivation was in good measure due to the banana pudding and our renowned soul food. With the great tennis and the effervescence she brought to this year’s tournament, we sure hope to see her dancing on court again in 2013.


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